MSc Global Environment and Sustainability
Gain a holistic and interdisciplinary understanding of the causes and consequences of the urgent environmental issues of our lifetime, from climate change and environmental hazards, to global food systems. Explore how environmental sustainability policy and management can contribute towards achieving global peace and prosperity.
Delivered by experts in the field
Everything you study during the degree has been developed by Birkbeck, University of London, a research hub with world-leading academics contributing to public debate and research across a wide range of areas. You’ll learn from highly experienced professionals and practitioners, combining academic excellence with industry-related knowledge and expertise.
Make a difference
Gain the skills and expertise needed to contribute meaningfully to the fight against urgent threats facing the planet and achieve professional success as a sustainability practitioner or researcher. Get ready to hit the ground running in careers in environmental management, local government, policy, business or environmental groups and charities.
Gain a prestigious qualification valued internationally
The University of London has been a trusted provider of distance and flexible learning for over 160 years. Since Queen Victoria awarded our Royal Charter in 1858, our degrees have been accessible to students globally, and we continue to be a leading force in higher education.
An accessible degree
This degree is open to students from a wide range of academic backgrounds, including those without a bachelor’s degree in a related subject area. Moreover, if applicants do not meet the requirements for Direct Entry, they can apply for the MSc via the Performance Based Admissions (PBA) route.
Study online anywhere in the world
The online MSc Global Environment and Sustainability can be studied from anywhere in the world. The flexible design enables you to fit your studies around your schedule. With no international travel, relocation or accommodation costs, studying a University of London degree is more affordable than moving to London.
Join the world class
After graduation you will become part of our global network of influential alumni, joining graduates in over 190 countries, including distinguished academics, writers and industry leaders. Enjoy access to services, a dynamic programme of events and a lifelong connection to the University of London.
The degree is available to be studied as a full master’s degree, a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) or Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert).
You complete six modules for the MSc:
Five core modules (30 credits each); and one Project module (30 credits)
You complete four (30 credits each) modules for the PGDip
You complete two modules (30 credits each) for the PGCert
All of the modules from the MSc Global Environment and Sustainability, excluding the Project module, are available to study on a stand-alone basis, subject to module availability.
The Programme Specification and Programme Regulations contain information and rules regarding what courses you can choose and the order in which they must be studied.
Project module (MSc only)
You can study the MSc Global Environment and Sustainability from anywhere in the world, at a pace that suits you. Our flexible approach to studying allows you to fit your studies around your commitments.
The flexible approach to learning allows students to complete the MSc Global Environment and Sustainability in a minimum of two years (subject to module availability) to a maximum of five years. You can study at your own pace within limits, adjusting the intensity of learning to suit your needs. Modules are offered over a 20-week session each academic year.
When you register with us, you will gain access to all resources and study materials via your Student Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), that will equip you to complete each module successfully. You will gain access to a range of multimedia content, activities, and exercises, as well as the opportunity to engage with your module leader and fellow students.
As a student at the University of London, you will have access to a range of resources, databases, and journals via the Online Library. You will be able to contact a team of professional and qualified librarians for any help you require.
Senate House Library
If you’re based in the United Kingdom, or are visiting London, make sure to visit Senate House Library. Students studying with the University of London can join the library free of charge. Membership includes a 10-book borrowing allowance, access to all reading rooms and study areas, and on-site access to Senate House Library digital resources.
Online academic support
All students receive online module leader support while studying this degree. Module leaders introduce the modules, respond to queries, monitor discussions and provide guidance on assessments.
The following modules are assessed by two assessments: one online multiple choice question test (25 per cent) and an end of term coursework assessment (75 per cent):
- Climate Change and Environmental Hazards
The following modules are assessed by an end of term coursework assessment (100 per cent):
- Biodiversity, Biosecurity and Conservation
- Global Food Systems and Health
- Waste and Pollution
- Water and Energy Resources
The Project module is assessed by one independent research project (100 per cent). All coursework and project items are submitted through the VLE
Academic direction for the degree is from Birkbeck, University of London, which was founded in 1823 and joined the University of London in 1920.
Over 90 per cent of Birkbeck academics are research-active across of range of disciplines and regularly contribute to public debate and publish in leading academic journals. Academics from Birkbeck’s Geography Department actively participate in research and regularly contribute to public debate and publish in leading academic journals.
Dr Izabela Delabre undertakes research examining the intersection of forest and biodiversity loss, sustainable agriculture and supply chains, with a focus on global-local governance interactions. Other areas of expertise cover the politics of sustainability transformations and the use of technologies and data in environmental management.
Izabela has an MSc in Environmental Management and BSc in Environmental Sciences and a PhD in Human Geography. She has also worked in sustainable business consultancy. She has published articles in a number of academic journals, including Science Advances, Global Sustainability, Sustainability Science, Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space and Society & Natural Resources.
|Programme starts||April 2024|
|Programme starts||October 2024|
What qualifications do you need?
Entry route 1 – Direct Entry
- Applicants will need a bachelor’s degree which is considered at least comparable to a UK second-class honours degree or a postgraduate qualification from an institution acceptable to the University.
- Directly related professional work experience and/or directly related professional qualifications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Entry route 2 – Performance based admissions route
- If applicants do not meet the requirements for Direct Entry, they can apply for the MSc via the Performance Based Admissions (PBA) route.
- To qualify for entrance via the PBA route, applicants will need a bachelor’s degree or Aegrotat (certificate) from an institution acceptable to the University.
- Students on the PBA route may transfer to the MSc on successful completion of one module (30 credits).
Full details of all entry routes are in the Programme Regulations.
If you do not meet the standard requirements, we will consider each application on its own merits. Our Admissions Panel will consider whether any alternative qualifications or work experience you have are suitable for entry to the degree.
Entrance requirements for stand-alone individual modules
- To qualify to register for a stand-alone individual module, applicants will need a bachelor’s degree or Aegrotat (certificate) from an institution acceptable to the University.
English language requirements
You need a high standard of English to study this degree. You will meet our language requirements if you have achieved one of the following within the past three years:
- IELTS: at least 6.5 overall with 6.0 in the written test
- Pearson Test (Academic): at least 59 overall, with 59+ in reading and writing and 54+ in speaking and listening.
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English.
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (grade C or above).
- TOEFL iBT: at least 92 overall, with 22+ in reading and writing and 20+ in speaking and listening.
- Duolingo: must achieve an overall score of at least 120.
- If you do not meet the English language proficiency requirements but believe that you can demonstrate the requisite proficiency, the University may, at its discretion, consider your application.
We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly.
If you have studied material as part of a previous qualification that is comparable in content, level and standard to our MSc Global Environment and Sustainability modules, you might be exempted from the equivalent module of our degree. This process is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or Exemption. You will not need to study or be assessed in the module(s) to complete your award.
To be considered for RPL you should make a formal request within your application when applying online. Alternatively, this can be done through an online enquiry, once you have submitted your application.
If you are registered for the MSc or PGDip, you may apply for Recognition of Prior Learning mapped against modules to a total of 60 UK credits. Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning for the PGCert or Project will not be accepted. We will not recognise or accredit prior learning for a module later than 14 days after the module start date. You will be deemed to have started a module once you have been given access to the learning materials on the VLE.
More about RPL and the application process
Your qualifications will need to be assessed by specialist academics on a case by case basis, before we can approve recognition and accreditation of Prior Learning. This is called discretionary RPL and involves a non-refundable application fee.
You will need to be eligible to study the degree and will need to provide the following for your RPL application to be considered: a completed RPL request form, the supporting documentary evidence (normally a transcript and syllabus of your previous studies) and the fee payable.
Note: All discretionary RPL requests must be submitted by the dates specified for the April or October intake in the year that you apply. Once submitted, we must receive all required supporting evidence by the deadline stated.
|April 2024 intake|
|Submit RPL request by||6 March 2024|
|Submit supporting evidence by||8 March 2024|
Further information on rules regarding RPL is covered in the Recognition of Prior Learning section of the appropriate Programme Regulations and Section 3 of the General Regulations.
RPL and Performance based admission
If you wish to enter the degree via the Performance Based Admissions (PBA) route, you may apply for recognition of prior learning at the point of application. Any approved RPL will be formally applied to your record once you have been successfully admitted onto the full MSc degree.
To enter the MSc via the Performance Based Admission (PBA) route, you must first register for and pass any one module from the MSc degree structure, excluding the Project module.
You may not register for a module which we have recognised and accredited as prior learning unless you withdraw your request for recognition of prior learning.
If you do not successfully pass one module from the MSc degree structure (excluding the Project module) and therefore are not admitted onto the full MSc degree, any application fees paid for discretionary RPL are non-refundable.
Fees, funding and payment
The fees below relate to new students registering for the 2023-2024 session. On average, fees are subject to a five per cent year-on-year increase.
Students who registered earlier can view their fees on the Course Fees page.
The fees depend on whether you live in a developing (Band A) or developed (Band B) nation. See the list of Band A and B countries [PDF].
|MSc Global Environment and Sustainability full degree fee*||2023-2024|
|Band A countries||£9450|
|Band B countries||£12600|
|MSc Global Environment and Sustainability indicative totals**||2023-2024|
|Band A countries||£9608|
|Band B countries||£12810|
|Pay per module (MSc, PGDip, PGCert, Individual Modules)||2023-2024|
|Band A countries:|
|30 credit module fee||£1575|
|Band B countries:|
|30 credit module fee||£2100|
|Assignment resit fee||£394|
|Application fee for recognition of prior learning (per 30 credit module) non-refundable||£125|
Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool.
More about programme fees.
*The full MSc degree fee is payable when you first register on the degree and includes access to study materials and your first entry into the assessments. It does not include resit fees, the module fee when repeating a module, applications for Recognition of Prior Learning and fees payable to a University of London Recognised Teaching Centres, if applicable. By paying in full at the beginning of your degree, you avoid any annual fee increases to module fees. With pay per module, you pay for each module as you register for it.'
**The indicative totals given represent the amount you would expect to pay if you commence study in October 2023 and then complete the MSc degree in the minimum period of time (as per when modules become available), without resits, and paying per module with a year-on-year increase of 5 per cent. These totals do not reflect the cost of any additional tuition support you may choose to take, resit fees or the fee when repeating a module, or applications for Recognition of Prior Learning.
Please note: student fees shown on our website are net of any local VAT, Goods and Services Tax (GST) or any other sales tax payable by the student in their country of residence. Where the University is required to add VAT, GST or any other sales tax at the local statutory rate, this will be added to the fees shown during the payment process. For students resident in the UK, our fees are exempt from VAT.
Your payment provider may apply additional transaction fees (if in doubt, please check with them before making a payment).
Some fees are non-refundable. Please see the refund and compensation policy for further details.
Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.
The degree provides career development opportunities for a wide range of individuals, including those with practical experience in environmental management and sustainability who are seeking to further develop their theoretical understandings in these topics, as well as those with a more limited knowledge of the subject who wish to develop their understanding and pursue a career in environmental sustainability.
Possible professions include sustainability manager, nature conservation officer, climate policy specialist, or environmental consultant. This degree can also be useful in waste, energy and/or water management and planning roles.
In some countries, qualifications earned by distance and flexible learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status before you register.
You’ll have access to a wide range of careers and employability support through the University of London Careers Service, including live webinars and online drop-in sessions.
Tailored support for careers in the refugee and humanitarian fields is available through regular programme events, webinars and careers resources.
What our students say
“The programme engages and inspires students of all ages to address the global issues with required knowledge and skills.”
“It has been an exceptionally well structured course. It's absolutely up to date, relevant and essential in today's world.”